England v South Africa: Hosts secure series win with emphatic Canterbury victory
|Third Women's ODI, The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence, Canterbury|
|South Africa 228 (49.5 overs): Van Niekerk 95, Brunt 3-52|
|England 232-3 (44.1 overs): Beaumont 105, Knight 80*; Khaka 2-63|
|England won by seven wickets|
England's women secured a 2-1 series win over South Africa with a seven-wicket victory in Canterbury.
South Africa captain Dane van Niekerk made 95 but her side collapsed following her dismissal to a superb stumping by wicketkeeper Sarah Taylor.
The visitors slipped from 212-4 to 228 all out with one ball remaining in the innings.
England were 51-2 in reply, but Tammy Beaumont (105) made her second century of the week to set up victory.
Captain Heather Knight (80 not out) steadied the side with Beaumont after the loss of two quick wickets, with their 154-run partnership ensuring a convincing victory for England with 36 balls remaining.
Opener Laura Wolvaardt made a painstaking 64 for South Africa but the visitors struggled to accelerate, with the final six wickets falling for 16 runs.
England were sloppy in the field to begin with, dropping three catches, but Taylor's athletic legside stumping swung things back in their favour.
The sides now head to Taunton for a Twenty20 tri-series also involving New Zealand, which begins on 20 June (13:00 BST).
Brilliant Beaumont leads way for England
It was the second time in three years that Beaumont had hit back-to-back ODI centuries after starring in the home series against Pakistan in 2016.
The right-hander has blossomed at the top of the order since the appointment of Mark Robinson as coach in late 2015, and her contrasting statistics before and after his appointment tell their own story.
|Tammy Beaumont's ODI records|
As Robinson himself pointed out, this century in Canterbury was in contrast to her free-running, free-hitting knock of 118 alongside Sarah Taylor at Hove.
"Maybe today's was better, because it showed more of her character," Robinson told Sky Sports.
Troubled by Marizanne Kapp's seam movement in the early stages at Canterbury, Beaumont rode her luck at times, and she was content to play second foil to opening partner Amy Jones - who again will have left Robinson frustrated as she looked well set making 24 before getting herself out.
Taylor hit her first ball for four but soon joined Jones back in the pavilion but it was the arrival of captain Knight that, in Beaumont's words, "calmed me down".
The pair withstood the early pressure from South Africa's seamers before pressing the accelerator when the spinners came on.
Indeed, Knight's strike rate exceeded that of Beaumont until just before the opener raced towards her century.
For the second match in succession, Beaumont fell with the finish line in sight but once again, several South Africans went to shake her hand before she left the field, in tribute to her match-winning century.
South Africa - a work in progress?
As evidenced by their run to the World Cup semi-finals, South Africa have come on leaps and bounds since the time - less than a decade ago - when they would arrive in England and be routinely thrashed without the hosts needing to hit top gear.
Having played to their strengths to win at Worcester, and having threatened for spells before losing at Hove, they arrived at Canterbury in with a chance of their first bilateral ODI series win over England.
After hitting 92 not out at Worcester and 117 at Hove, opener Lizelle Lee was unfortunate to be adjudged lbw to Anya Shrubsole, but teenager Wolvaardt and the inexperienced Andrie Steyn then dawdled, finding it difficult to rotate the strike - while Wolvaardt did not find the boundary between the fifth and the 37th over.
Despite shelling those catches, England bowled tightly with spinner Sophie Ecclestone particularly miserly with the ball, the teenager conceding 26 runs from 10 overs and not being hit for a single boundary.
That ramped up the pressure on skipper Van Niekerk to move up through the gears, which she did, making her highest ODI score - but Taylor's slick stumping provoked a scrappy collapse as three wickets fell with the score on 212, and the last three in the space of three balls on 228.
Without Raisibe Ntozakhe, who had bowled tightly in the first two games, Van Niekerk was without the services of a finger-spinner, but her bowling choices came under scrutiny.
After England were kept in check with seam, the introduction of leg-spinners in Van Niekerk - bowling round the wicket, taking lbw out of the equation and allowing England to milk her through the leg side - and Sune Luus for her first bowl of the series, meant Beaumont and Knight could ease the pressure.
Ex-England captain Charlotte Edwards said on Test Match Special: "I can't understand why Van Niekerk continues to bowl round the wicket - and feed England's strengths."
Van Niekerk did not recall the experienced Kapp to the attack until the 34th over, by which time the match was marching towards only one conclusion.
'The class of Tammy and Heather made us pay' - what they said
Player of the series Tammy Beaumont: "The most important things today was to back the bowlers up and get the win. Playing on the outfield here as a 10-year-old, it was great to get a century. We were under pressure when Heather came in but she's brilliant at chasing and kept me calm."
England captain Heather Knight on Sky Sports: "To come back with two really strong performances is very pleasing. We trained brilliantly, moved on quickly from Worcester and put right what went wrong with the batting that day. Back-to-back hundreds doesn't happen to often, so it's brilliant for Tammy, and the bowling has been outstanding all series."
BBC Test Match Special's Isabelle Westbury: "England have bounced back authoritatively, and have shown why they're world champions. They don't revolve around one player as they may have done in the pre-2015 era [under Charlotte Edwards]."
South Africa captain Dane van Niekerk on Sky Sports: "England bowled to their fields really well and made it difficult for us to score, but the class of Tammy and Heather made us pay. They played the spinners really well, that's why I brought on the pacers, but you can't defend both sides of the wicket to different lengths."
BBC Test Match Special's Natalie Germanos: "The wheels came off for South Africa, and unfortunately for me the wheels are running away down the road. Too many extras were given away. They can take positives from this series, but it just remains to be seen when they can take that next step."